Los Angeles Kings
|1 MT / 3 ET
|April 11th, 2010
7th in West
|8th in West
Welcome to the Colorado Avalanche regular season finale. It's been a long, exciting journey getting here; filled with mysterious benchings and scratches, numerous surprises like the Young Guns and Joe Sacco, the dominance of Craig Anderson, the departure of WW, the rebirth of Peter Mueller, and the unwanted emergence of some very unnecessary smurf outfits. And the fun ain't over yet! The Avs faceoff tonight against the 7th place Kings in the final match-up of the regular season for both squads.
Season series: The Kings blanked the Avs in the final game before the Olympic break 3-0 (I can still hear the geography-challenged Kings fan yelling at me as I left Staples center, "what do they have in Colorado, mountains? Have a nice drive back to Pepsi center!". Ah yes, I was put in my place quite soundly that night). The teams then split the next two meetings during a home-and-home series. LA won the first game 4-3 in OT, before the Avs turned the tables and topped the Kings 4-3 in a shootout 48 hours later. The home team has won each meeting, so if that trend continues the Avs will snag their 44th win of the season.
What's riding on this game: The Avs post season position is locked in, so the final score of this contest really has no baring on the Avs, but the Kings could move as high as 5th, or as low as 7th depending on the outcome of this game and what Detroit and Nashville do in their respective finales. It is actually a big deal for the Kings as their opponent would change dramatically between SJ, Chicago, Phoenix or Vancouver.
The main job for the Avalanche in this game is to rest key players, and also gear up for the upcoming 1st round series. The BIG scare for the Avs is that Matt Duchene left Friday night's match with Chicago after a torso injury he sustained against Edmonton earlier in the week flared up. It looked scary as the Calder hopeful stayed overnight in the hospital, but it turns out it was simply a precautionary measure. Still, don't expect to see Dutchy on the ice this afternoon. The good news for the Avs is that David Jones is very close to returning to action, and may even play today. Mueller is also feeling a little better after his concussion courtesy of sir Rob Blake of the league of extraordinary gentleman.
Bring on the post season!